Friday, September 18, 2015

What Type Of Christian Are You?

Yes, there are "types" of Christians. It's the unfortunate truth.

Why is this so?

Because we are all human beings. We are all sinners. We live in a broken world....

And because of that, we're going to have differences.

Although we should, not all believers have the same viewpoint or understanding of every subject the Bible addresses (whether that's because of influence from upbringing, culture, experience, the environment lived in, or even the church attended). Heck, there's even different viewpoints for each denomination of the same faith (baptist, methodist, church of christ, etc).

The fact is, Christians are just like everyone else in this world... with a few exceptions:

  • We believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ
  • We have been completely forgiven of our sins (past, present, and future)
  • We have hope in Jesus Christ and eternity in Heaven
  • We are offered the opportunity to have a relationship with our Creator
  • Our future in Heaven has been secured forever (we have been adopted as children of God).


Which type of Christian is "correct"? Is there a "true" Christian?

Hopefully, all types of Christians believe in the SAME gospel, the same underlying message of Jesus Christ. If not, then they are not considered Christians at all.

After reading the descriptions of each "type," pray about it (if you are a believer) and see which type of Christian category lines up with Biblical truth.... not just part of the Bible, but the whole Bible. Answer these questions:

  1. What is God's character? 
  2. Who was Jesus? 
  3. What did Jesus do? 
  4. Why did Jesus come? 
  5. Who did Jesus walk with? 
  6. What is the message of Jesus?

Types of Christians

Bible Beaters

This is the type of Christian that many nonbelievers or atheists believe most Christians to be: A bunch of Bible beatin', judgmental folk who want to shove Jesus down their throats.

They protest outside of buildings and events that are "unclean" and tell drug addicts, prostitutes, Muslims, and the gay community that they're damned to the fiery pits of Hell.

Wow. They really know how to show the love of Jesus.

As a devout believer, I'd have to agree with the nonbelievers on this one. These types of Christians are, unfortunately, the ones who tend to drive people away from Jesus. These types of Christians are bold in their faith... which is a wonderful thing that many of us fail to live up to... but, they are missing out very important truths:

  • Jesus DID NOT come to judge, to condemn, or to yell at the sinners that they are going to burn in Hell. He came to save. 
    • He talked to, walked with, loved and forgave those who were deep in sin... even the prostitutes, the thieves, etc. He showed them love, not just told them what they should and should not do. He died for them, too! 
  • Did you forget that you, too, are just as much of a sinner as everyone you're screaming at? 
    • Did you forget that Jesus died for ALL sins, including yours? 
    • Did you forget that it is only God Himself that has the authority to judge, and that He commanded us to love our neighbors (and enemies) as ourselves?
  • Affection and love can change things that discipline never will be able to. 
    • Your hateful and judgmental actions towards those in "worse" sin than your own (*sarcastic statement: all sin is equal in God's eyes) is doing nothing but driving them away from hearing the TRUE message of Jesus Christ. And that message is love and redemption.
    • The best way we can reach out to nonbelievers is by walking in love and kindness as Jesus did. 

So-Called Christians

Christian novel, fan vs. follower of Jesus.
Just because you live in The Bible Belt (the South), it doesn't make you a Christian.

Just because you went to church as a kid, or even attend church weekly, it doesn't make you a Christian.

Just because you prayed a prayer and said your ABC's of being a Christian, it doesn't make you a Christian.

Just because you fed the homeless, went on a mission trip, or sponsored a kid in Africa in the name of Jesus, doesn't make you a Christian.

Your bumper sticker, your Christian T-Shirt or WWJD bracelet, your Bible sitting on your night stand, and your Jesus-loving parents do not make you a Christian.

I'm not saying this to label you. I'm saying this because I used to be these things. I was a so-called Christian and "checked off" all the boxes of "being a good Christian."

I attended Bible studies, said prayers, asked God to forgive me of sins, went to church (most Sunday's) and posted multiple Bible verses on my Facebook. For the most part, I considered myself to be a good Christian. But it wasn't until after I graduated college that I experienced something for the first time that made me question my faith up until that point....

I experienced God.

Truly. For real this time. I fell in love with Him. I felt His presence, His peace, His grace, His crazy love. I think this was the first time the Holy Spirit filled me up and made me whole. I fell to my knees in amazement and awe. And I cried my eyes out.

My heart was.... TRANSFORMED.

Christianity stopped being a thing I did or called myself.
It stopped being a chore list or rule book.
It stopped being my parent's faith.
.... It became my identity.

Not all at once, of course. Experiencing God was the first stepping stone into who I am and where I am in my faith today. I've never been the same since that heart transformation. Even though I sin daily and often.. even though I struggle with many of the same sins as before... even though I am far from perfect and even rebel against God (as the sinful, broken human being that I am)... for the first time, I know and have experienced the true difference of what being a genuine believer is.

I realized that a relationship with God is the most important thing. He desires a relationship with you, and He takes the transformation of your heart seriously. Just read the entire New Testament.

Think about it: When you love someone, you desire to be faithful to them and want to tell everyone how great they are. You want to do good things for them to show your appreciation, love, and commitment. You desire to be near to them, to have a strong relationship with them, and communicate with them often.

That's exactly what having a relationship with God is like. But multiply that times 100.

Every other relationship will leave you empty, will fall short, will fail you, or will be temporary (even if it's a lifetime). A relationship with God is the most fulfilling, life-changing experience you will ever have. And He will never leave you. He will never fail you. He will never fall back on His promises. He will never stop loving you, no matter what.

A heart transformation gives you the desire to have a relationship with God, and in turn, you will desire to devote your life to His Will... in love, obedience, faithfulness, etc.

So if you don't have a transformed heart, just keep praying. Pray honestly. Pray openly. Pray boldly. Pray often. Pray that God will do so in your life. And of course, repenting of your sins shows that you know that you have sinned and want to be made right with God.

Gospel-Centered Christian

If I had to label what a "true Christian" really is, I would call it a gospel-centered Christian. A gospel-centered Christian is one who completely knows and understands the gospel (the good news of Jesus Christ, why He came, what He did, his actions and words in the New Testament), and strives daily to live as Jesus did. 

Of course, nobody can live exactly as Jesus did, because He did not sin and live perfectly obedient to God the Father.

A gospel-centered Christian strives to:

For the Non-Christians

Many nonbelievers in America are not Christians because of a negative experience they had with a Christian or church. Many nonbelievers have heard of the gospel, but never truly believed in a way that it transformed their hearts and changed their lives. Many nonbelievers have simply adopted the popular cultural view of Christianity as the Bible beaters, the gay haters, the Westboro Baptist Church folk, etc. whose lives are built around judgmental and hateful behavior towards others.

As you read earlier, Christians are sinful, human beings. We all (nonbelievers and believers) actively rebel against our Creator and choose to fall into our selfish desires and temptations. We make our own man-made ideas, beliefs, and rules and try to force it on other people. We are sinners. Each and every one of us. And we are all in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ.

In my blog, "Christians are HYPOCRITES!," you will see that we are no different than nonbelievers. (Even Ghandi agrees).

We are sinners. We are in need of a savior. We are confused, lost, broken, and selfish. But thanks be to God, true Christians have been saved and all transgressions have been covered (past, present, and future).

It doesn't mean we will become perfect; it doesn't mean that we will always get it right; it doesn't mean that we will fully 'make it.' It only means we have been extended God's grace through the gospel of Jesus, and we are CALLED to live our lives accordingly... however, many of us fail daily. Some say they are Christians, yet actively live their lives against how Jesus commanded us to live (which makes you question if they are true believers). True believers should always try to live as Jesus did, even though our efforts may fail due to the brokenness of our sinful hearts.

The underlying message is that we Christians cannot (and will not ever be able to) measure up to what we are called to do. We will never be able to live the life that Jesus did perfectly. We will always fall short, we will always sin, and we will always be in need of forgiveness. Jesus is so gracious and so loving that He died on the cross for us, even knowing that we would fail and that we would rebel against Him. He already knew. And He did it anyway. He made a way for us to be completely washed of all sins, free from the chains and slavery of sin, and adopted into the eternal family of God.

For nonbelievers, there is comfort in knowing that Christianity does not mean you have to be or become perfect. It means that we recognize our imperfections and yet, we are made flawless and right with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light.